Susie’s Hallmark, a long-standing Main Street store, recently dropped the Hallmark Gold Crown licensing and plans to carry a variety of products and gifts from more local suppliers.
Owner Susie Keck decided to make the change in December 2013 and officially left the network of Hallmark Gold Crown stores in March, changing the store’s name to Susie’s Gifts on Main.
“Hallmark corporation changed their business model for Gold Crown Stores and began to make the requirements we had to meet under the licensing agreement not very cost-effective for a smaller market,” she said.
One requirement included keeping a high level of Hallmark inventory and changing it out more frequently, she said.
Hallmark has struggled with its lines of gifts and cards. In March, Hallmark announced that the company had a four percent decrease in revenue on gifts and cards in 2013 compared with the previous year.
The number of independently owned Hallmark Gold Crown stores across the nation also has declined.
In 1991, the company touted having 5,000 locations in the U.S. Currently, the company lists about 2,500.
Hallmark cards and gifts are still available in more than 40,000 other retail stores.
“When Hallmark decided to put their cards and a lot of their gift lines in the big-box stores like Walmart, City Market and Walgreens, we decided people needed diversity,” she said.
Now, Susie’s on Main will be carrying more women’s accessories, music boxes, frames and items from local artists.
The store also plans to sell new brands of cards, although Keck plans to keep some Hallmark cards in the mix.
This is not the first time the Keck has had to adapt to changing business models. In 2000, when the local Walmart opened, Keck sold the JC Penney catalog portion of her store, moved to Main Street and expanded her Hallmark offerings.
Keck, 63, purchased the store in 1993 with her husband. She envisions the store being part of downtown for many years and eventually helping someone else carry it into the future.
The store plans to celebrate its latest incarnation by raffling off seasonal gift baskets and holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 10, at 4:30 p.m.
Afterward, the store plans to host this month’s Business After Hours, with live music by Donny Johnson.